The Trinity Delusion An exposé of the doctrine of the Trinity

Titus 2:13

awaiting the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."

The Trinitarian Claim

Trinitarians claim, along with an appeal to the Granville Sharp [First] Rule, that Jesus is here being identified as "our great God and Savior."


The Claim vs. The Facts

The facts show that "our great God and Savior" in this verse is the Father.


The Problems with the Claim

1. Trinitarian Translations Inconsistencies

Trinitarian translation scholars have inconsistently translated this verse in 3 different ways. Notice how the following translations do not attempt to describe Jesus as "our great God and Savior."

looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." (ASV)

Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Douay-Rheims).

the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ. (NAB)

The above translations intentionally distinguish Jesus from God. They instead refer to Jesus as "our Savior" but do not attempt to describe Jesus as "our great God." These translations essentially deny that the Granville Sharp rule has any real validity or they would not have translated this verse as they have done. At the outset, we can see clearly that some Trinitarian scholars do not believe that Paul had any intention of identifying Jesus as "God" in this verse.

A second type of translation, such as the King James version, changes the noun "glory" (doxa) into the adjective "glorious" so that it reads "the glorious appearing of" rather than "the appearing of the glory of" as we find in most other translations.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (KJV).

as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NET)

The 1984 edition of the NIV had this verse translated in a manner similar to the above but the 2011 NIV has now been changed to read "the appearing of the glory of" rather than "the glorious appearing of." We must carefully observe that the phrase "the glorious appearing of" says something quite different than the phrase "the appearing of the glory of" and so we must honestly inquire into the intent of the person who actually wrote this verse, the Apostle Paul, as well as the intent of these translators who change the noun "glory" into the adjective "glorious." Changing the noun "glory" into the adjective "glorious" changes the meaning of the verse.

A third type of translation does not attempt to rule out that Jesus is called "God" but they do not attempt to change the noun "glory" into the adjective "glorious."

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (ESV).

looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. (NASB).

while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NRSV).

awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (RSV).

while we wait for the blessed hope - the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NIV).

The literal Greek text says, "awaiting the appearing of the glory of." The translations above more accurately reflect what the Greek text actually says than the first two set of translations. Unlike the these translations, the KJV and NET translations change the noun "glory" to the adjective "glorious" to have it modify the word "appearing." This completely changes the meaning of the passage from believers eagerly awaiting the appearing of the glory of our God and Savior, to believers eagerly awaiting the glorious appearing of our God and Savior. One translation has us waiting for the glory; the other has us waiting for God. These are two completely different ideas. Trinitarian apologists prefer to disingenuously cherry pick the NET and KJV translations because it suits their apologetic agenda.


2. The Greek Grammar and Sentence Structure

The literal Greek sentence structure is key to a proper interpretation and translation of this passage.

prosdecomenoi thn makarian elpida kai epiphaneian thV doxhV
prosdechomenoi ten makarian elpida kai epifaneian tes doxes
awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory
 
tou megalou qeou kai swthroV hmwn ihsou cristou
tou megalou theou kai sothros emon iesou christou
of the great God and Savior of us Jesus Christ


Notice Paul's literal words. The passage does not say, "the glorious appearing." The verse says we are awaiting "the appearing of the glory of." By changing the word "glory" to the adjective "glorious" in order to modify the word "appearing" completely changes the intended meaning of Paul's words.


3. The Granville Sharp (First) Rule

The Trinitarian claim here completely relies on something called the highly debated Granville Sharp First Rule. In simple terms, the Granville Sharp rule of Greek grammar states that when you have a word construction in Greek that takes the form THE - NOUN1 - AND - NOUN2, both nouns refer to one person (referent) and not to two persons. Two nouns are being used to refer to the same person. This is also known as a TSKS construction. At Titus 2:13, the construction is "[THE]-[GREAT GOD]-[AND]-[SAVIOR]" which, according to this rule, means that this entire phrase does not refer to two persons:(1) the great God and (2) another person who is the Savior. According to the GS Rule, these words only refer to one person.

Trinitarians here claim that the one person/reference is Jesus who is being identifed or described as "the great God and Savior of us." However, this is not the only possibility that satisfies the Granville Sharp rule. The most natural reading of Titus 2:13 is that Jesus is being described as "the glory OF the great God and Savior" since, after all, this is precisely how it reads.

Additionally, there has been a recent effort among Trinitarian apologists to try and justify the KJV translation, "the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." The NET translation has adopted this apologetic agenda. The reason they would like the "glorious appearing" translation to be valid, is not because of any good grammatical reason, but because such a translation would nullify the possibility that Jesus is being described as "the glory of our great God and Savior." With the "glorious appearing" translation, Jesus would be described as "our great God and Savior" and we would rather be awaiting the "glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Let the reader clearly see the underlying agenda here.


Analysis of the Facts


1. The Context: God our Savior

Paul refers to "God our Savior" in verse 10, three verses before Titus 2:13. It would be extremly tenuous and self-serving to insist this is a reference to Jesus. Therefore, we should most naturally see that "our great God and Savior" is a reference to the Father in verse 13.

"That they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing Salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, awaiting the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us."

In verse 10, we see God the Father is identified as "our Savior." Now notice what Paul says in verse 13. He says we are awaiting the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. The passage does not say we are waiting for our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. It says we are waiting for the "glory of" our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. And that is just what Jesus is - the glory of our great God and Savior, the glory of the Father.


2. The Greek Noun "doxa" ("glory")

Trinitarian apologists like to disingenuously insist upon the "glorious appearing" translation and it is plain they do this solely for the sake of their doctrine. However, there is simply no grammaticaly reason whatsoever to change the noun doxa into an adjective in this sentence. No reason whatsoever. We shall also see that we are indeed awaiting the appearing of God's glory.

Endoxos: How to say "Glorious" in Greek

The Greeks actually had a word they could use to express the concept "glorious." It is not the word doxa but the word endoxos.

But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are in glorious clothing and live in luxury are found in royal palaces! (Luke 7:25).

As he said this, all his opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by him. (Luke 13:17).

We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are glorious, but we are without honor. (1 Corinthians 4:10).

that he might present to himself the glorious church... (Ephesians 5:27)

It is quite clear that there is absolutely no excuse for translating the word doxa as "glorious."


3. Matthew 16:27 and 1 Timothy 6:14-16

Titus 2:13 is referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ our Blessed Hope. When Jesus returns, the glory of the Father will appear. Note the following passages which are also referring to Jesus' second coming:

For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels" (Matthew 16:27).

...the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his own time will show the Blessed and only Potentate... (1 Timothy 6:14-15).

4. The Risen Jesus is the Glory of God

Israel was the glory of our God

If Israel was the glory of our God, then how much more shall we believe the King of Israel, Jesus Christ, is the glory of God. If Israel was the glory of our God, then we can certainly believe Jesus is the glory of our God.

But now, thus says YHWH, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!... Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for MY glory, whom I have formed, also whom I have made." Isaiah 43:1-7

I will put salvation in Zion, to Israel MY glory. Isaiah 46:13.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the risen Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God.

And He is the radiance of God's glory. (Heb 1:3).

If the risen Jesus is himself the radiance of God's glory, they it certainly is true that we will see the glory of God when he comes in that glory.


5. The One Referent is the Father: Our Great God and Savior

God is our Savior because Jesus is HIS salvation (Luke 2:30), the human Savior whom GOD raised up (Luke 1:68-69; Acts 5:31; 13:23). Jesus is all God the Father's doing. All the facts tell us that the words "the great God and Savior of us" do indeed refer to only one referent - the Father. And the facts also tell us that Jesus is being descrbed in this verse as "the glory of our great God and Savior," that is, the glory of the Father.

This passage is actually a complex form of the Granville Sharp rule since, according to the rule, the blessed hope and the appearing require one referent as well. In this passage, we are told that we are awaiting two things: (1) the blessed hope, and (2) the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior. Jesus is these two things. He is our blessed hope (see Col 1:27). And when he comes he will also be the appearance of the glory of the Father (Matthew 16:17; 1 Timothy 6:14-16; Hebrews 1:3). He is the one referent for that TSKS construction. For the other TSKS construction (the great God and Savior of us), the Father is the one referent.

What is somewhat amusing here is that many Trinitarians have supposed their Granville Sharp rule requires identification of Jesus as "our great God and Savior." This is incorrect. It only requires this construction to refer to one referent and that referent in this case is the Father, our great God and Savior. No Granville Sharp rule is broken. This interpretation is also espoused by Pauline scholar Gordon Fee, a Trinitarian scholar.

awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of [the Father], Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

When we realize that Jesus is going to come again in the glory of his Father, the truth of the matter becomes quite clear. Paul is referring to Jesus' second coming which we are awaiting. In the immediately preceding context we find Paul referring to "God our Savior," a reference to God the Father. And at verse 13, Paul is here telling us that we are awaiting "the appearing of the glory OF our great God and Savior." What is appearing? What is appearing is the glory OF our great God and Savior, the glory of THE FATHER, and that glory is Jesus Christ our blessed hope of glory.

"Awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."

"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels" (Matthew 16:27).

Last Revision/Update: March 19, 2016


 HOME